Hunt pours scorn on Geordie broadband plans

Summary:Every local authority in England has met the deadline for submitting its initial super-fast broadband plans except for North Tyneside and South Tyneside, the government said on Thursday.Local authorities had until the end of February to submit the plans in order to get money from the £530m Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pot.

Every local authority in England has met the deadline for submitting its initial super-fast broadband plans except for North Tyneside and South Tyneside, the government said on Thursday.

Local authorities had until the end of February to submit the plans in order to get money from the £530m Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pot. The government warned that North and South Tyneside may miss the deadline back in January, and this has now come to pass.

Jeremy Hunt

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has questioned North and South Tyneside's broadband rollout plans after the local authority chose not to apply for BDUK funding. Image credit: Conservative Party

However, North Tyneside and South Tyneside have told the government that they do not need the BDUK funding, which was already allocated for them, to achieve their aims. Each local authority is supposed to use the money to provide 90 percent of local homes and businesses with super-fast broadband access, and everyone with at least 2Mbps.

"North and South Tyneside seem blithely confident they will deliver world class digital infrastructure — I just hope they are not being complacent," culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement. "No one in the UK can afford to slack on making sure we have the best broadband network in Europe upon which so many of the jobs of the future depend."

A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council told ZDNet UK on Friday that it was already working with BT on its deployment and was on track for a successful rollout.

"We can… give a firm assurance to our residents and business that we are committed to delivering superfast broadband where it is needed most, and we will be writing to the minister to update him on our position and progress," the spokesperson said.

All the local authorities that are trying to get BDUK funding need to have their plans finalised by the end of April, and be ready to move to the procurement phase at that point. In its statement, the government said it would "look at running a national project covering any areas that fail to meet the timetable".

"The Government's timetable requires local authorities to complete their broadband plan by the end of April and finish procurement by the end of the year," the statement read. "All authorities except North Tyneside and South Tyneside are rated as 'high confidence' the deadline for having their plans approved will be met."

Topics: Telcos

About

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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